by SCOTT JOHNSON | June 22, 2001 | Page 7
SOUTH KOREA'S air transportation system ground to a halt in mid-June in the largest airlines strike in the country's history.
The walkout at Korean Air and Asiana Airlines was part of a nationwide strike of more than 50,000 workers in several industries.
Also on the picket line were staff workers at nine major hospitals.
The strike was called by the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) to demand higher wages and an end to layoffs.
But with the government using the country's drought to shift public opinion against them, most strikers returned to work after winning only a few of their demands.
The bosses also turned to repression--arresting four pilots on charges of organizing an "illegal" strike and issuing a warrant for the arrest of KCTU leader Dan Byoung-ho.
Dan remained at large as Socialist Worker went to press.
The KCTU strike was further evidence of the anger that workers feel at the employers' attacks on jobs, wages and conditions.